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Tag / vietnamese cuisine

Got bored with the Vietnamese Street Food series yet? Well, there’s more!

In this installment we’re checking out Gỏi cuốn, or Vietnamese Spring Roll.

Che Minh Khai, one of the many eateries near our Airbnb
Che Minh Khai, one of the many eateries near our Airbnb 

Contrary to popular belief, spring roll isn’t served only during spring. You can actually get them all throughout the year.. (OK I made that up).

Vietnamese spring roll is quite a fair bit different from its Chinese counter part of the same name, with some saying origin started from Vietnam, while others believe it was the Chinese who came up with the dish first. In any case, the ingredients are a fair bit different.

gui cuon, or Vietnamese spring role, with dipping sauce
gui cuon, or Vietnamese spring role, with dipping sauce

Vietnamese spring roll is made up from rice paper as the wrapper, with pork slices, shrimp, rice noodle, green onion, and and generous amount of vegetable. It is often served fresh and at room temperature. A type of peanut sauce is usually served as the accompanying condiment.

dip & bite, can you see the ingredients?
dip & bite, can you see the ingredients?

If you try this at HCMC from one of the restaurants typically frequent by the locals, you can expect to pay about 5,000 VND for each piece. 2-3 pieces should suffice for light breakfast.

map to che minh khai restaurant, Saigon

Address:
Che Minh Khai
18A/16 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai
District 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
GPS10.786134, 106.700463
Tel: +8408-3825 6432
Hours: 7am to 8pm

Continuing with the introduction in Vietnamese street food, today let’s talk about bo kho, or the Vietnamese beef stew.

Thus far, everything dishes in this series is from the same 4-day December 2016 trip to HCMC, and they’re mostly common dishes you can find most anywhere in the city.

a nice big pot of bo kho, Vietnamese beef stew
a nice big pot of bo kho, Vietnamese beef stew

Kho is a cooking technique in Vietnamese cuisine, while bo is beef. Like most dishes in Vietnam, fish sauce is one of the ingredients in this stew. The result is a more complex taste than the usual Western style stew.

Bo Kho is usually served with either rice noodle or banh mi (baguette in Vietnamese), though you can also have it with rice.

bo kho comes with banh mi (baguette), or rice
bo kho comes with banh mi (baguette), or rice 

The version we had was from a small restaurant a stone’s throw away from the Airbnb at HCMC by the name of Thuc Don. Haze had the version with banh mi (45,000 VND) while I opted for rice (40,000 VND).

The meat was lovely, with really soft flank cut with tendon attached. The stew itself has a rich and complex flavor, made better with those chunks of carrots. I didn’t miss the absence of potato or celery at all.

of course, coffee at Vietnam is always the accompany drink
of course, coffee at Vietnam is always the accompany drink

If you love beef, this is a dish to try in Vietnam, and if you’re not in Vietnam, this won’t be a difficult dish to replicate at home either. I think I’m going to find a recipe and try it at home.

bo kho restaurant map, District 1 HCMC

Address:
Com – Pho
Bo Kho
18A/23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai
District 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
GPS: 10.786259, 106.700355

In my previous-previous job many years ago, I used to travel quite a bit to Ho Chi Minh City for work, and aside from the hospitality of the people there, the one thing I always looked forward to was some good old fashion Vietnamese street food.

Their dishes take advantage of ingredients not entirely unlike Chinese or Thai cuisine, but with the result that is completely different. Unlike Thai or Malay food which often rely on chili, Vietnamese creations often feature plenty of fresh vegetable, and instead of soya sauce in Chinese food, fish sauce seems to be their go-to choice as seasoning.

Quan An Viet, near Klang Parade
Quan An Viet, near Klang Parade

While Vietnamese food has some presence here in Malaysia, they are mostly chain restaurants offering pho, a few rice dishes, and nothing else, so imagine the surprise when we saw this little kopitiam manned with Vietnamese with thick accents offering proper Vietnamese street food right at Klang.

In fact, the little area between Klang Parade and Taman Eng Ann seems to have a small Vietnamese community living around the area, complete with shops carrying Vietnamese groceries.

bún bò, bún riêu, gỏi xoài
bún bò, bún riêu, gỏi xoài

Quan An Viet offers some 20 different simple dishes, from beef noodle to duck noodle, spring roles to rice dishes, and they’re all priced at less than RM 10.

We first had the bun bo, or rice vermicelli and beef, a dish that’s similar to pho but with slightly different soup base and vegetable reflecting it’s origin in Hue instead of Saigon. It was pretty delicious, though I’d love to see tripes, brisket, or tendon in it instead of just beef slices.

Bun rieu is something new to me, a sort of tomato broth with crab/shrimp paste filled with pork leg, coagulated blood, and vermicelli noodle. Quite an interesting taste but it is something that takes a bit of getting used to.

Goi xoai is their version of green mango salad with some sort of rice sheets. To be honest I didn’t like it, the Thai version is still much superior. Perhaps those in Vietnam is better executed than here.

bánh mì, cơm sườn
bánh mì, cơm sườn

Bánh mì is a Vietnamese term for bread, a dish that is introduced by French during its colonial period. While the filling tastes pretty good, the quality of bread here isn’t really up to par.

The other dish I tried was the Vietnamese Broken Rice with Grilled Pork Chop, and sadly it was kinda disappointing. The pork chop was too dry and generally lack any umph.

KY & Haze at one of our favorite Vietnamese kopitiam
KY & Haze at one of our favorite Vietnamese kopitiam

I would say the spring roles & noodle dishes here are definitely up to par, and for the price you pay, this place definitely offer great value for money. Will definitely head back again for other dishes.

map to Quan An Viet restaurant, Klang

Address:
Quan An Viet (Restoran Kui Rong)
Jalan Pekan Baru 35
Kawasan 17, 41150 Klang, Selangor
GPS: 3.064075, 101.455354
Hours: noon till dinner